Keeping holiday shopping dollars in the region is easy when buying cookbooks, because 2013 has proved to be a productive year for Minnesota authors.
And that starts with culinary-star-in-the-making Amy Thielen, who is drawing so many fans to the Food Network’s highly watchable “Heartland Table” that the show was just renewed for a second season (see page T2 for more).
But Thielen is also making a name for herself via her dazzling debut cookbook, “The New Midwestern Table” (Clarkson Potter, $35), which poetically chronicles her life in rural northern Minnesota through the prism of 200 recipes that collectively embrace and define our region.
Anyone with a passion for cooking Indian food will recognize Raghavan Iyer’s name — his exhaustive “660 Curries” from 2008 is essential kitchen library material.
Now those in search of an easy-to-follow entry into the world of Indian flavors will have a resource in “Indian Cooking Unfolded” (Workman, $19.95), a guide that seamlessly translates Iyer’s decades of cooking class experience onto the printed page via 100 extremely user-friendly recipes.
During the past six years, has anyone had more of an impact on home bakers than Zöe François and Jeff Hertzberg? Doubtful. Now their newly revised “The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” (Thomas Dunne, $29.99) is bound to introduce a next generation of apostles to their revolutionary, everyone-can-do-this approach to delicious, satisfying breadmaking, as laid out in their original “Five Minutes” edition and its whole-grain and pizza/flatbread follow-ups.
Keeping up with Duluth’s prolific Beatrice Ojakangas, with 29 cookbooks to her credit, is almost a full-time job. The latest from this Gopher State treasure — “The Soup & Bread Cookbook” (Rodale, $23.99) — follows her patented approach of casting seemingly familiar subjects anew.
Once again, Ojakangas thinks like a home cook, pairing soups and breads and collecting them by the season: a spring pea soup with chive-dill batter bread, cabbage-hamburger soup with whole-wheat cranberry-nut bread.
Beth Dooley condensed 25 years of zealous farmers market shopping into “Minnesota’s Bounty” (University of Minnesota Press, $29.95), a detailed tutorial that celebrates a near-exhaustive list of vegetables, fruits, grains, meats, poultry and cheeses, all organized alphabetically and showcased through flavorful, approachable recipes, with stunning photos by Minneapolis photographer Mette Nielsen.
Another locavore’s title is “Edible Twin Cities” (Sterling Epicure, $19.95), where editor Angelo Gentile compiles profiles of local artisans, farmers, chefs and tastemakers from Edible magazine, packaging them with 100 seasonally focused recipes and vivid photographs by Carole Topalian.
For a glimpse into the region’s original cooks, there’s poet Heid Erdrich’s “Original Local: Indigenous Foods, Stories and Recipes From the Upper Midwest” (Minnesota Historical Society Press, $19.95), a survey of heritage foods well-suited to contemporary tastes.
The book includes fascinating glimpses into the lives of Ho-Chunk Menominee, Potawatomi and Mandan harvesters and gardeners, and supplies readers with useful guides to wild game, freshwater fish, corn, maple, bison and other native ingredients.
The Northern Plate, the Minnesota Historical Society Press’ single-subject cookbook series, continues with “Modern Maple” ($16.95) by Teresa Marrone and Marie Porter’s “Sweet Corn Spectacular” ($16.95). Like their 2012 predecessor, Kim Ode’s “Rhubarb Renaissance” ($16.95), they offer dozens of inventive sweet and savory suggestions for steering these familiar ingredients into unexplored territory.
Just in time for its “American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition” exhibition, the Minnesota Historical Society has released “Soda Shop Salvation” (Minnesota Historical Society Press, $17.95). Author Rae Katherine Eighemy examines the blossoming of this drugstore staple during the alcohol-free years of the 1920s and early 1930s.
“The Duluth Grill Cookbook” (Duluth Grill Publishing, $29.95), “Kramarczuk’s Family Classics” (Bulldog Publishing, $27.99) and “Famous Dave’s Barbecue Party Cookbook” (Famous Dave Anderson, $24.99) all share recipes, tips and stories from three popular Minnesota restaurants.
A trio of across-the-border food-related titles are worth a peek, although none are cookbooks.
Like Anderson Cooper, the “Today” show and “Top Chef,” Anthony Bourdain flipped for the story of Marilyn Hagerty, a Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald staff writer since 1957. He’s collected an anthology of “Eatbeat,” Hagerty’s restaurant reviews — from 1987 to the present — in “Grand Forks” (Ecco, $14.99), a plain-spoken and quietly affectionate look at the city’s food-and-drink scene that also reads as a reflection of American dining-out trends.
And a pair of entertaining books focus on a fish fry- and prime-rib-heavy segment of Midwestern nostalgia: “Wisconsin Supper Clubs” (Agate Midway, $35) by Ron Faiola takes readers on a road tour through beloved 50 Badger State landmarks, while Dave Hoekstra casts a wider net in his “The Supper Club Book” (Chicago Review Press, $29.95), dropping in on classic establishments in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois and Michigan.
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